The Benefits of Reading

There are far too many people, both adults and kids alike, who do not read on a regular basis. But it’s easy to see why with so much technology at our fingertips. Why read a newspaper when you can turn on the TV and watch the news? Or why read a book when you can order and listen to the audio version? If you are someone who does not read on a regular basis you are missing out. By reading a ‘real’ book, you can receive numerous benefits that you can’t get any other way.

There are several benefits of picking up and reading a ‘real’ book. When you read a ‘real’ (as in a paperback or hardcover) book, you can receive several health benefits such as improving your brain functions and your memory. Also, when you read a ‘real’ book, you can also receive several non-health benefits, such as having your creativity stimulated and your stress level being reduced when you read.

When you read, it puts your brain to work. This is a very good thing because people who engage their brains through activities such as reading are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than people who spend their downtime on less stimulating activities. Studies suggest that by reading and exercising your brain, it can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease because inactivity increases the risk of people developing the disease, while readers are less likely to develop the disease due to their brains being more active.

Also, not only can reading help put your brain to work and prevent stuff such as Alzheimer’s, but reading can also help you relax. According to a study done by researchers at Sussex University in 2009, reading can reduce a person’s stress by as much as 68 percent. And, also, according to cognitive neuropsychologist David Lewis, “It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and the stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.” Reading can be a great stress reliever, so the next time you’re feeling stressed about something like an upcoming test, pull out a book and read a couple of chapters from it. I know from personal experience that reading might not only help reduce your stress, but it can also help motivate you and give you different ideas. For example, if you have an essay that’s due soon, and you don’t know what to write your essay on and you’re completely stressed out about it, by reading even just a couple of chapters from a book, you can de-stress and possibly even get an idea for your paper.

But that’s not all the benefits you can get from reading. That’s because not only can reading help you relax, reading before bed can also help you sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, by reading before bed, it signals your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.  By reading a ‘real’ book, it can help you relax and get to sleep quicker than staring at a screen, due to screens of devices like kindles and phones keeping you awake longer and disrupting your sleep. I know from personal experience that by reading even just one chapter from a ‘real’ book at night, not only can you fall asleep faster, but you feel more relaxed and in turn are able to sleep better. And sometimes, you can even wake up earlier by reading from a ‘real’ book at night, as opposed to just looking at a screen before bed.

And to top it all off, by reading a ‘real’ book, you can also increase your intelligence. According to a paper from the University of California, Berkeley, “Diving into a good book opens up a whole world of knowledge starting from a very young age. Children’s books expose kids to 50 percent more words than prime time TV or even a conversation between college graduates.” By reading and being exposed to the new vocabulary learned from reading a ‘real’ book, the new vocabulary can lead to readers possibly having higher scores on not just reading tests, but general tests of intelligence. And by developing stronger reading skills early on in life as well, it can lead to the possibility of having higher intelligence later in life.

There are so many benefits that you can get from reading a ‘real’ book. I personally love to read. The smell of old books, the feel of the paper pages between your fingertips, there is just so much I enjoy about reading. You can get so many benefits from reading that you can’t get any other way. And as Dr. Seuss once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more than you learn the more places you’ll go.” So instead of reaching for the TV remote, how about you go reaching for a book instead.